Biswarup Goswami On Transformation Of Job Roles

Biswarup Goswami On Transformation Of Job Roles

"Certain full-time jobs are likely to be replaced with contingent talent or may even be non-existent going forward," says Biswarup Goswami, CHRO, GHCL. Take a look at this exclusive interview to know more about effectively managing a blended workforce in the textiles sector.

Although the blending of workforces (full-time, part-time, contingent, bots, in-office, remote etc.) is not a new trend, it has gained new momentum following the COVID-19 pandemic. Which roles in the Textiles sector are best performed by full-time employees, and which are better suited to contingent talent? Do you foresee certain full-time jobs veering into non-traditional domains?


Earmarking the type of talent as full-time and contingent is indeed mootable. Certain full-time jobs are likely to be replaced with contingent talent or may even be non-existent going forward. The Textiles sector is primarily labour-oriented and highly unorganised with only a few key players being organised. Due to upcoming automation and consistent upgradation of technology leading to rationalisation of workforce, this is bound to evolve further with the progression of time. Thus, in the near future, we can visualise a certain shift in domain expertise.


For instance,


(a) With Machine Learnings, AI, Robots and Bots, we may witness a drastic change with the lean workforce through centralised shift manning. This may occur owing to a shift in the manufacturing focus from China to India, Bangladesh and Vietnam. The newer factories will be less labour intensive.


(b) Positions such as Quality Head may become redundant when automation paves the way for quality assurance and consistency at every stage of production. Similarly, the Maintenance Head position, which is crucial to the Textiles sector, will either be merged with core production or could be outsourced to the OEM manufacturer itself, making it a part-time job. The existing level of automation is paving the way for remote maintenance of the machinery.


(c) In the Textile Manufacturing or Yarn or Apparel industry, there are two sets of workforce viz.


(i) Plant workers -Permanent and Contractual


(ii) Office staff that enables processes like Finance, IT, Purchasing, HR or Sales and Marketing


In a blended workplace, jobs that cannot be done from home may be eliminated. Also, the work that we can easily outsource, like Madeups (Cutting and stitching) will remain contingent.


(d) Except the jobs which deliver your core competency, there is always room for the other jobs to get outsourced /made redundant/ automated or get altered into a shared service model.


The pre-pandemic war for talent and the pandemic-triggered acceleration of digital transformation across organisations is further bound to enhance the scarcity of talent. How do you believe the textiles sector will rise to the challenge of talent scarcity? Do you think the pandemic will transform the manner in which talent is acquired and onboarded?


Transformation in terms of Talent Acquisition and Onboarding will not be industry specific. The War for Talent and Talent scarcity will remain forever, irrespective of the pandemic. So, looking at the future of work, a realistic and futuristic competency model will evolve as a skillset, and inhouse Trainee schemes will be the order of the day blended with ITIs or Private Technical Training Institutes to partner in developing skills.


The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the acceleration of recruitment by way of online interviews/tests etc. This has overcome the time lost owing to travel and physical meetings since a cross-functional panel can interview candidates in one go. And it is here to stay since we have now trained, accustomed and accepted the digital recruitment process.


The other challenge, largely driven by the pandemic, is the present trend among Talent wishing to work based out of their hometown along with their families instead of relocating for better opportunities. This will be a disturbing factor for large organisations, where Talent was earmarked and developed for various positions. A Talent is also a human being and the pandemic has infused fear among employees who leave their families behind in their hometowns. In spite of the economic recession, the pandemic has added the dimension of “life threat”.


With limited players in the Market, for instance, in the Home Textiles business, and the rise and fall of small players, Talent is now just moving from one organisation to another. The pandemic has forced us to look for new Talent rather than experience.


Many years ago, NASA engineers were apparently against employing crowdsourcing platforms for the simple reason that they stood to eliminate the culture of NASA— collaboration and brainstorming. What are the possible fallouts of a blended workforce on the culture of an organisation?


One can foresee the below mentioned aspects:–


(a) All the employees may not be present “in the office,” and hence building rapport and a team mindset is difficult. Also, it is impossible to explore facial reactions


(b) Careful Examination of core values that could be done by the managers during physical meetings and the personal camaraderie is amiss


(c) Getting old and new employees aligned virtually may not yield that great a result


(d) Regardless of these challenges, we are looking into the area of improving culture via digital means as there is no choice and we need to learn to adjust to the new environment


When it comes to employee experience, the goal to improve ‘employee engagement, performance, and development’ which are key themes in the employee life cycle. And it is essential to get them to get the right employee experience be it digital or face-to-face.


In light of the pandemic, it has been witnessed that organisations are hiring CXO-level talent on an on-demand basis. What are the pros and cons of such an engagement in the textile industry?


I do not fully subscribe to this. This phenomenon is temporary since CXO-level talent cannot be taken for a stop-gap arrangement. This will impact both the talent and the organisation. These toplevel executives set the direction for the organisation and realising the objectives of that direction will not be a short-term job.


The Textiles industry cannot resort to on-demand hiring since the nature of the industry requires long term engagement. Frequent changes in top-level positions will shake the delicate bottom line. Hence, Textiles will always prefer a sound visionary vis-à-vis a short-term star performer on a short-term contract.


Some possible reasons for the upcoming trend of ‘temp CXOs’ is gathering momentum:


1. Companies become conscious of fixed costs


2. Pressure from investor community and impatience for results


3. Taking advantage of a large pool of ‘super specialists’ looking for short job stints during the pandemic.


4. As of now, we are not following it in GHCL since we believe in longterm commitments and it has served us well so far.


With older talent rejoining work post their retirement, we are witnessing a more age-diverse workforce than ever before. How can organisations foster inter-generational collaboration and cohesion given the different types of work arrangements (from full-time to freelance) and work models (from remote to hybrid)?


From my viewpoint, the superannuation age can be enhanced, but the trap of re-inviting those who have already super-annuated barring instances where there is a sudden exigency/crisis for filling a business impacting critical position. This will be deemed as the bankruptcy of our talent pool and succession planning process.


We should work towards fostering inter-generational collaboration and cohesion given the different types of work arrangements (from full-time to freelance) and work models (from remote to hybrid). In doing so, we must also ensure not to put ‘all the eggs in one basket’ and de-risk the organisation. Some companies utilise the process of Mentoring as well as reverse mentoring depending on the subject matter expertise and not as per job title or hierarchy.










0/3000 Free Article Left >Subscribe